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Validity and reliability of a wearable insole pressure system for measuring gait parameters to identify safety hazards in construction

Maxwell Fordjour Antwi-Afari (Department of Civil Engineering, College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Aston University, Birmingham, UK)
Heng Li (Department of Building and Real Estate, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong)
JoonOh Seo (Department of Building and Real Estate, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong)
Shahnawaz Anwer (Department of Building and Real Estate, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong)
Sitsofe Kwame Yevu (Department of Building and Real Estate, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong)
Zezhou Wu (Department of Construction Management and Real Estate, College of Civil and Transportation Engineering, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen, China)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Article publication date: 15 September 2020

Issue publication date: 25 June 2021

624

Abstract

Purpose

Construction workers are frequently exposed to safety hazards on sites. Wearable sensing systems (e.g. wearable inertial measurement units (WIMUs), wearable insole pressure system (WIPS)) have been used to collect workers' gait patterns for distinguishing safety hazards. However, the performance of measuring WIPS-based gait parameters for identifying safety hazards as compared to a reference system (i.e. WIMUs) has not been studied. Therefore, this study examined the validity and reliability of measuring WIPS-based gait parameters as compared to WIMU-based gait parameters for distinguishing safety hazards in construction.

Design/methodology/approach

Five fall-risk events were conducted in a laboratory setting, and the performance of the proposed approach was assessed by calculating the mean difference (MD), mean absolute error (MAE), mean absolute percentage error (MAPE), root mean square error (RMSE) and intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) of five gait parameters.

Findings

Comparable results of MD, MAE, MAPE and RMSE were found between WIPS-based gait parameters and the reference system. Furthermore, all measured gait parameters had validity (ICC = 0.751) and test-retest reliability (ICC = 0.910) closer to 1, indicating a good performance of measuring WIPS-based gait parameters for distinguishing safety hazards.

Research limitations/implications

Overall, this study supports the relevance of developing a WIPS as a noninvasive wearable sensing system for identifying safety hazards on construction sites, thus highlighting the usefulness of its applications for construction safety research.

Originality/value

This is the first study to examine the performance of a wearable insole pressure system for identifying safety hazards in construction.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

We are thankful for the financial support of the following two grants from Research Grants Council of Hong Kong: 1) “Proactive monitoring of work-related MSD risk factors and fall risks of construction workers using wearable insoles” (PolyU 152099/18E); and 2) In search of a suitable tool for proactive physical fatigue assessment: an invasive to noninvasive approach. (PolyU 15204719/18E). Special thanks are given to Mr Wong Chun Fai for assisting the experimental set-up and all our participants involved in this study.Data availability statement: All data generated or analyzed that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon request.

Citation

Antwi-Afari, M.F., Li, H., Seo, J., Anwer, S., Yevu, S.K. and Wu, Z. (2021), "Validity and reliability of a wearable insole pressure system for measuring gait parameters to identify safety hazards in construction", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 28 No. 6, pp. 1761-1779. https://doi.org/10.1108/ECAM-05-2020-0330

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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